Die Philosophie der Freiheit II (Essay von Deepak Loomba). The Philosophy of Freedom (Essay by Deepak Loomba)

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Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner

This essay is dedicated to Austrian Philosopher-Reformer Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1861–1925), who wrote Die Philosophie der Freiheit (The Philosophy of Freedom). Who followed in the footsteps of thinkers like Kant & Fichte in the area of epistemology (Theory of knowledge). This essay is a small humble cantilever projected on the solid columns that thinkers like Steiner created.

I am the Nth writer-thinker, who is applying his mind on the concept of freedom. Nonetheless, I bid in this short essay, to open a new window to the beautiful landscape of freedom. Every phenomenon in the universe differs depending on the location & conditions of the observer. Every new thought on freedom is discovery of another new position, a new angle & position from which to view the same statute. Thus, making the comprehension of mankind more circumferent & encompassing.


No freedom exists in all such cases, when there is neither a choice for an event to happen or not, nor to happen in a different way than that in which it would happen would no freedom/choice be exercised. Therefore, lack of choice is lack of freedom.


Everything that occurs along the path-of-least-resistance is spontaneous. Spontaneous is that which will occur by itself without need of any energy input from outside, like a river flowing from the mountains to the ocean or high potential electric charge falling from sky onto earth as lightning or the expanding universe. Indeed, all of these will happen even if we (living-beings possessing intent and capability to apply force & effort either to resist or reverse spontaneous change or conversely, accelerate it) disappear from the universe leaving in the wake of such annihilation only non-living objects and materials. Since no additional energy is required for a phenomenon to occur along the path of least resistance, such a path of its occurrence is the optimal one. Spontaneity is optimal in nature because it always takes the ‘path of least resistance’. Any path proscribing this path of least resistance therefore, automatically becomes sub-optimal.

In a world, where there is nothing non-spontaneous, everything occurs by the second law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy) that too by a deterministic path of least resistance. How then could we detect non-spontaneity and in consequence intent in a universe of spontaneity? The necessary condition for intent to be detected is digression from the path-of-least-resistance and optimality.

The moment something sub-optimal happens, the necessary conditions (not sufficient) for intent to occur are fulfilled.

First draft of definition of freedom according to me is,

“the capability of an entity, system or phenomenon to occur, change or behave in anyway, other than the one in which it would in absence of intent/effort/additional-force/additional-energy applied.”

In case everything occurs spontaneously, along the path-of-least-resistance, choice ceases to exist, because spontaneity is optimal and unitary. Lack of choice leads to termination of freedom.


The closer one is to the path of least resistance & spontaneity, the lesser are the choices and chances of deviation from the optimal, unitary path and lesser is the freedom.

Therefore, any major deviation from the path of least resistance stands for freedom. Though it also means that the chosen path proscribes the path of least resistance and will hence cost in energy addition or subtraction from the system both of which need efforts/intent and energy. Therefore, intent and freedom of choice are indeed inefficient. The higher the inefficiency, the farther one is from the path of least resistance and hence freer.

Aforementioned makes it apparent that freedom is directly proportional to deviation from the path of least resistance, and consequent lack of efficiency.

Freedom needs a decrease or unnatural increase of entropy to happen, therefore needing input of energy in a system, such that higher the freedom, higher the energy & effort required.

Second draft of definition of freedom according to me is,

“Freedom is the extent of deviation that an entity, system or phenomenon undergoes from the spontaneous, most efficient & optimal path of least resistance.”

The farther the deviation, the more, exercised freedom.


Reason (Immanuel Kant’s, ‘Critic of Pure Reason’) is an attribute of knowledge, while knowledge is applicable only on recurring processes & phenomena. All such processes that do not recur are not subject to the domain of knowledge as they cannot be objectively measured or re-observed (as they occur only once). Reason, therefore, is the salience of known (among recurring) and thus, path of least resistance. Suboptimal deviations that are freedom are always unreasonable. And it is so because in the new, the unknown, and the uncertain resides freedom. The farther one explores freedom, the farther one needs to digress & deviate from the path of least resistance and hence the higher is the energy and effort requirement along with higher uncertainty and lesser control (as control too is limited to the recurring & known).

High degree of freedom therefore needs a very high energy and effort to be invested.


There are indeed two ways for anything to occur — recurrent or non-recurrent. Purpose and desire are the inhabitants of recurrent. In my book “Awareness & Consciousness — Discovery, Distinction and Evolution. The New Upanishad” (ISBN: 978–1692201227), I have distinguished between these three from a physical and phenomenological point of view. They are an outcome of recurrence, there can exist no purpose in something that will never ever happen again. As the process of purpose discovery itself requires recurrence.

Freedom therefore, resides in deviation from the recurring — the property to deviate from the process, the way it would occur if nothing is done & no intent is applied. Concomitantly, it is apparent that non-recurring is unknown and uncertain — the two properties of randomized events (stoichiometric events).

Notwithstanding the strangeness & counter-intuitiveness; freedom is independence from recurrence & reason. This means that anything which is done with some reason in mind is not exercise of freedom at all, it is taking the known path of knowledge & reason.


Freedom is the propensity of a conscious being to undertake deviations from that which is recurring or that which would happen if no deviation would be undertaken.

Observe a flock of birds flying attentively. The network mesh principle induces organized flights through proclivity of each bird in a flock to maintain the distance it has with neighbouring birds. This principle ensures that they fly together, concerted in the same direction. The maintenance of distance from neighbours is a state that each bird of the flock resides in. Freedom for him is restricted to little auto-correcting digressions from a course set, not by him.

The birds on the fringes, especially the front-line are the ones who possess the highest freedom that can effect the course of the flock. These are the birds that lead and could technically change the course of flocks.

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Flock of birds

It is the birds in the leading position that exercise freedom not the ones that follow.


Availability of choice, but lack of capability to exercise that choice for reasons that are discriminatory for a specific category of entities, while some other categories are equipped for apt decision-making too is lack of freedom for the discriminated category. In the case of the flock of birds, each of the birds embedded in such positions that they fly with birds all around them, still have the capability to dive or rise (change the vertical plane of flight) but they are incapable of exercising these options as they are pre-programmed to fly within the confines of the flock.

“Quite similarly, it is only those that think of the new & unexplored, non-recurring, uncertain, unreasonable & purposeless, and over & above — intensively apply energy & effort on doing so, experience freedom.”

Those following, utilizing the path of least uncertainty and resistance, are merely wandering in the realm of reasonable, known and recurring and only think they are free. In reality, they are not.

“Freedom exists; but only in the unknown, uncertain and unreasonable.”

Authored by Deepak Loomba (dl.dstl@gmail.com)

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